The EPA is likely concerned over nanomaterials–tiny particles just atoms wide now being used in sunscreens, tennis balls, stain-resistant clothing and more–for the same reasons they keep an eye on other very small particulates. These ultrafine particles are small enough to be inhaled by human lungs and thus could cause breathing problems, or could travel to the brain from there and damage brain cells. Another concern is that nanoparticles in contact with peoples’ skin could enter skin cells and disrupt DNA, making them a possible carcinogen. There is also very little research on how nanoparticles may escape during production or leech from products as they degrade over time, which could have adverse environmental impacts. Hopefully the EPA will soon have answers to these questions and more.
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